Risk Update

Kanye Conflict? — (I’m Going to Let Them Finish…)

Biglaw Leaders Reassure Firm That Representation Of Kanye West And Donald Trump Is Not A Conflict Of Interest. Nothing unethical to see here!” —

  • “Husch Blackwell has heard your concerns and wants to assure you everything is just fine. As you may recall, earlier this week news broke that an attorney at Husch Blackwell, Lane Ruhland, was spotted delivering to Wisconsin officials signatures to put Kanye West on the presidential ballot.”
  • “Apparently working for multiple presidential candidates raised some questions among the rank and file at Husch. According to an email circulated internally, firm leadership made clear that a conflicts check was run for the representation of Kanye West and/or his 2020 presidential campaign.”
  • “They make no mention of how, exactly, this squares with representing another 2020 presidential candidate — and not just representing him on a firm level, the same attorney is apparently working for multiple candidates — for example if conflicts were disclosed and waived or if there’s a limited scope to the representation. Just trust that the conflict has been cleared.”
  • “But the firmwide email also makes clear that the ‘controversial’ aspect of the representation (though it isn’t clear if they’re talking about the Kanye campaign or the Trump campaign) isn’t something they particularly care about. And ‘representation of clients is not an endorsement of said clients’ cultural or political viewpoints.'”

Bar Complaint Claims Kanye West’s Campaign Lawyer is Violating the Rules by Simultaneously Working For Trump” —

  • “A government watchdog group on Friday filed a complaint against Lane Ruhland with the Wisconsin Office of Lawyer Regulation (OLR) alleging the attorney has been violating ethics and conflict of interest obligations by working for both the presidential campaigns of both Kanye West and Donald Trump. Ruhland – the former general counsel for the state Republican party and senior counsel at law firm Husch Blackwell…”
  • “And because West and Trump would be running against each other and vying to win the same potential voters, such dual-representation presents a clear conflict of interest that violates the Wisconsin Bar’s rules, the complaint says.”
  • “‘Simultaneous legal representation of two candidates competing for the same office is a paradigmatic example of a conflict of interest,’ CfA Executive Director Michelle Kuppersmith wrote in the complaint…’“As an attorney for the Trump campaign, she simply cannot show the ‘loyalty and independent judgment’ representing the West campaign that are an “essential element” in a lawyer’s relationship to a client.'”
  • “West recently told Forbes that his campaign is intended to hurt Joe Biden, not Trump. The Forbes report says ‘GOP operatives’ were working ‘to get [West] on state ballots.'”